Nick Saban wasn’t able to ponder his legacy moments after capturing a report seventh nationwide championship ”since you’re at all times wanting ahead.”
It was time to start out chasing No. 8, in any case. The Crimson Tide capped off a 13-0 season with a 52-24 win over Ohio State Monday night time within the nationwide championship sport at Laborious Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
”The to-do listing began after the sport final night time,” the 69-year-old coach, who’s displaying no indicators of slowing down, stated at a Tuesday morning information convention.
A block get together started proper after the sport as effectively, with Tide followers flooding the streets of Tuscaloosa close to the campus regardless of officers warning towards massive gatherings through the pandemic that would result in outbreaks.
In South Florida, the championship celebration for Saban did not final very lengthy. They by no means do.
The work began by assembly ”proper after the sport” with gamers contemplating leaving early to enter the NFL draft, together with seniors who’re eligible to return due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Subsequent up on his to-do listing is sprucing off one other loaded recruiting class and changing offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who’s taking on at Texas. Saban declined to provide any timetable for making that rent.
None of that is new for Saban, identified for his singular focus and skill to yearly substitute elite expertise on each the roster and his teaching employees. Saban broke a tie with Alabama predecessor Paul ”Bear” Bryant for essentially the most nationwide titles by a serious school coach, together with one he captured at LSU and 6 over the previous dozen years in Tuscaloosa.
”It is an ongoing course of, constructing a workforce,” Saban stated. ”I do not suppose you may go to sleep on the swap for a minute if you wish to attempt to do it the appropriate means in your gamers and your program.”
However Saban stated this was one in every of his greatest groups, if not one of the best. Going through a regular-season schedule of all Southeastern Convention opponents due to the pandemic, Alabama breezed into the league title sport having scarcely been challenged.
Solely Florida within the SEC championship sport got here nearer than 15 factors. Neither semifinal opponent Notre Dame (31-14) nor the Buckeyes mustered a lot of a problem.
Quarterback Mac Jones, a Heisman Trophy finalist who’s exploring getting into the NFL draft, left little question the place he believes this workforce belongs traditionally: On the high.
”I feel we’re one of the best workforce to ever play,” Jones stated. ”There is not any workforce that can ever play an SEC schedule like that.”
The 2009 Alabama workforce that went 14-0 is Saban’s solely different undefeated group.
And he left little question this one holds a particular place for him due to how effectively Tide gamers negotiated the COVID-19 risks and points.
This workforce earned a spot in his coronary heart, and maybe historical past. However now Saban has begun laying the muse for subsequent 12 months’s workforce.
There’s loads to do, and appreciable expertise poised to depart.
The Tide should substitute most of its offensive stars, doubtlessly together with Jones, who already has a grasp’s diploma in sports activities hospitality and is projected as a possible late first-round NFL draft decide. Saban stated he and the quarterback plan to speak ”someday right here within the subsequent day or two.”
Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith departs because the Southeastern Convention’s most prolific receiver.
Alabama’s all-time main rusher, Najee Harris, is also headed to the NFL. So presumably are All-America offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Landon Dickerson from a bunch that Tide defensive lineman Christian Barmore proclaimed ”one of the best offense in the entire world.”
Junior cornerback Patrick Surtain II, the Jim Thorpe Award winner as the highest defensive again, is also projected as a first-round decide. Barmore, a third-year sophomore, can also be among the many underclassmen with a call to make.
Saban stated this most likely wasn’t his most proficient workforce general, although offensively it might be onerous to high.
”This was sort of the last word workforce,” he stated. ”These guys have been like a highschool workforce when it comes to how they bought alongside collectively, how they supported one another, how they performed collectively, how they overcame adversity.”
Alabama’s newest recruiting haul will assist ease a number of the lack of expertise. The Tide’s class has seven five-star prospects and ranks because the nation’s greatest, in keeping with the 247Sports composite rankings.
4 of these prized recruits – offensive tackles JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer, cornerback Ga’Quincy McKinstry and huge receiver Jacorey Brooks – are already enrolled.
And seniors like Smith and Harris, who returned this season hoping to say a title and enhance their draft inventory, get to complete on high.
”I got here again to get a level and to win a nationwide championship,” Smith stated. ”That is why that meant a lot to me, why I used to be simply so glad about it. Two principal bins that I wished to verify off, I checked off.”
Now Saban is checking off the standard objects on his low season to-do listing.
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